It goes without saying that happiness is a common goal. We all want to feel our best, and with that in mind, it’s no surprise that an abundance of studies has been conducted on the connection between specific habits and happiness. So, what are some habits that promote happiness, and what can you do if you find yourself in a rough patch where nothing seems to work?
Six Habits That Promote Happiness
Here are six research-backed ways to promote happiness:
- Try Volunteer Work
You know that giving back benefits your community, but did you know that it can actually make you happier, too? Those who volunteer regularly are more likely to have better mental health and report a higher quality of life. It’s not just that people who are happy with their lives are more likely to volunteer, either; research indicates that even those who start with a lower mood see an improvement over time when they volunteer regularly.
- Spend Time Outdoors
We’ve all heard that nature is good for us, and the research is certainly there to back it up. Studies show that time in nature can help reduce stress and symptoms of both depression and anxiety. Time outdoors can also improve concentration and support your memory, among a wide variety of other benefits. If you have access to the great outdoors, take advantage of it as a way to support your mental and physical health.
- Get Enough Shuteye
A massive body of research proves a strong correlation between sleep and both mental and physical health. To start, not getting enough sleep increases your risk of anxiety and depression, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and your likelihood of getting into a car accident.
To set yourself up for success, try to go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day, limit caffeine and alcohol, both of which can impact sleep, avoid looking at your phone or computer before bed, and use techniques that help you unwind, such as meditation and breathing exercises. If you struggle with sleep on an ongoing basis, it’s important to reach out to your doctor to see what might be going on and get to the bottom of the problem.
- Socialize More Often
Social relationships are heavily linked to life satisfaction. This fact may not be shocking, but you might be surprised by just how much social support matters when it comes to health. People with positive social connections sleep better, cope with stress more efficiently, and even have better physical health among other advantages.
If you’re not sure where to start meeting people, remember that there are a lot of different ways to put yourself out there. You can meet people through a group, class, app, or something else that works for you. Many people find that common ground is what connects them and helps them break the ice, so joining a group or mentioning your interests in your bio on an app is a great place to start.
- Engage In Physical Activity
Physical activity of various forms, from walking to yoga to biking and more, has been proven time and time again to boost your mood. Get creative, and remember that any physical activity counts. If there’s a form of physical activity that brings you joy, whether that’s biking, lifting weights, dancing, an exercise class, or something else, movement is a great way to relieve stress and support your happiness. Make sure to talk to your doctor before changing your exercise routine, and care for your body accordingly when you exercise.
- Express Gratitude
Statistically speaking, those who express gratitude more are happier, sleep better, and even have a stronger immune system. The benefits don’t stop there! Gratitude can also reduce stress, and it’s linked to better cardiovascular health when compared to those who express gratitude less. To implement more gratitude into your life, you can let the people in your life know that you appreciate, keep a gratitude journal, or express your thanks in other ways that work for you.
Of course, this is by no means an extensive list. Other activities, such as meditation, listening to music, and so on, can promote happiness, too. But, what if nothing’s working? It doesn’t mean that anything’s wrong with you or that you aren’t trying hard enough.
There are a vast number of factors that contribute to how you feel. Whether you’re going through a hard time in life, are facing symptoms of a mental health condition, or are experiencing something else that’s impacting your mood, you can get to a better place, and asking for mental health support in the form of a therapist or counselor can help.
Find A Therapist
Sometimes, the hardest part isn’t wanting help but knowing where to look. Whether you’re struggling with mood, interpersonal relationships, stress, grief, a life transition, or something else, there are a number of different ways to find a therapist who meets your needs. You can ask your doctor for a referral, contact your insurance company to see what they cover, search the web, or sign up for a reputable online therapy platform like BetterHelp. All of the providers on the BetterHelp platform are licensed, and it’s an affordable way to get the support that you need from the privacy of your own home or anywhere else with a reliable internet connection. Regardless of how you find a therapist, you deserve to feel your best, so don’t hesitate to take the first step today.
Author Marie Miguel Biography:
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.